Website foundations for stories in action

Website foundations course covers

Learn how to draw readers in and get the right messages across with this introductory-level e-course.

A lot of people do their best to set up their own website, and spend a chunk of time fiddling around with it. Thing is, you don’t know what you don’t know. And while getting something thrown up there might let you tick your to-do list, it won’t get the results you want.

A website is your online representative, making contact with people on your behalf.

You don’t make it good at that by jumping straight into the techy stuff. You need to know what you want it to do for you, and how it will serve your audience. And you build that from the inside out.

This is the stuff I look at when I’m giving feedback on a site, in easy-to-digest form, ready for you to put to use.

Don’t miss out on connection

A lot of websites don’t pay attention to these ideas. Even sites that are counted successful, by people who ought to know what they’re doing. They miss out on connection with visitors that they could have had.

A message is a story in action. You’ve found a story, a message that wants to get out, that can help us make things better. That can help build a corner of the big picture I call ‘the upward path’. I want to see that happen. Too often these messages get lost in the background noise and don’t make the difference they could have made.

Your website is your home base on the internet. It’s the only place online where you can control everything about your writing and the way it’s presented. So give it the best chance of doing its job.

What you’ll learn

  • Why it’s important to show up in person on your site, and tips on overcoming internal barriers you might have.
  • The difference between foreground and background messages, and how to discover the latter and put their power to work.
  • The importance of thinking like your audience, and how to overcome pitfalls of being stuck in your own perspective.
  • What people really do when they visit web pages, and how to avoid alarm signals that will drive them away.
  • Tips on writing for the web, and how to hone your writing style and voice.
  • How visual design – colour, layout and fonts – can boost your message … or sabotage it.

What you’ll get

It’s a set of PDFs for you to work through in your own time. Each part has info, exercises and suggestions for further resources.

  • Part 1 – Showing up with your message (12 pages).
  • Part 2 – Thinking like your audience (13 pages).
  • Part 3 – Putting writing and design to work (11 pages).

There are also a couple of extras.

  • Background message finder – a simple but powerful exercise helping you find the authentic impressions to weave into all your communication materials (3 pages).
  • Introduction to WordPress – although the course doesn’t cover setting up a site, this short tipsheet will point you in the right direction (5 pages).

A quick bit about me

Tim Gray headshotI’m Tim Gray. I’ve worked with words and presenting information for over 25 years – from charity publications to freelance web design to self-publishing game books.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about how words and design connect with what’s in our heads, and what happens to messages as a result. I have a knack for explaining things in a way that’s easy to read and understand, with a dash of humour.

On my book The Radio-Controlled Message Bottle:

“Tim has a way of laying things out in an easy to follow format and also with a wry sense of humour that reminded me of Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

A great purchase to get you thinking about your written communications and remind you of the dos and don’ts so you can get your message over more effectively.”

Karen Revell, career change and business coach

The importance of foundations

Of course, most people get someone else to create their site for them. Even if you find a great web designer who has skills in design and user experience (and not all do), they won’t be psychic. They’ll still need you to tell them what you want. And it’s your responsibility to manage the project and rein them in if they go off track.

That’s why these foundations are important even if you’re not planning to go anywhere near the techy stuff yourself. They’ll put you in a stronger position for doing justice to your story so it can get out there and make your difference.

Maybe you think of yourself as having a blog rather than a website, and you’re using off-the-peg themes and tools to do it. A blog is a website, of course, and if you’re blogging you certainly want the platform for your words to encourage people to read what you have to say. So you need to know what to keep in mind when you’re choosing pre-made pieces that will work for you.

Get your course now

The price is $30. (Around £24. Payment is via Gumroad. VAT may be added, depending on your location.)

To get stronger foundations for your own website, click the button!

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